Director Colleen McGoff Dean (bottom right) with the cast of Naked Stage’s production of “Alabama Story,” including (clockwise from bottom middle) Jennifer Price (as Lily), Nancy Painter (Emily), George Stone (Senator Higgins), Croy Jenkins (Thomas), Michael Paulse (Joshua) and Vaughn Williams (Garth). (submitted photo)

THEATRE

‘Alabama Story’ about a controversial book plays Surrey in another Naked Stage show

‘Reader’s theatre’ production brings Kenneth Jones script to Newton Cultural Centre

Upon first seeing Alabama Story staged at a theatre in San Jose little more than a year ago, Colleen McGoff Dean immediately knew she wanted to bring the play to Surrey, in another Naked Stage production.

Kenneth Jones’ six-actor script is a good fit for the company, which does “reader’s theatre” stagings at Newton Cultural Centre several times a year.

Alabama Story holds a mirror to real-life events of 60 years ago, when a children’s book called The Rabbits’ Wedding caused controversy for its depiction of a white rabbit marrying a black one.

The thought-provoking play, which debuted in 2015, touches on civil rights and censorship issues. Jones bills the play as “a humour-laced social-justice drama that’s a sort of vest-pocket cousin to To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“You may rightly ask how a story set in 1959 Montgomery, Alabama, is relevant to a 2019 B.C. audience,” says South Surrey’s McGoff Dean, who directs the play in Newton. “In many ways, the issues in this story, set 60 years ago, are issues that, sadly, we are still addressing today: inclusion, equality, freedom of expression and openness to new ideas. And, there are still those in public office who, like Senator Higgins, are threatened by these ideas and construct obstacles made of fear.”

(STORY CONTINUES BELOW)

In Alabama Story, the segregationist senator demands the book be removed from all library shelves because he feels it promotes interracial marriage. He spars with the state librarian on the issue, among other defenders of the published work, and a parallel story involves a reunion of childhood friends – a black man and a white woman.

In Newton from March 22 to 24, the production stars Jennifer Price (as Lily), Michael Paulse (Joshua, Lily’s old friend), Nancy Painter (Emily, the state librarian), George Stone (Senator Higgins), Croy Jenkins (Thomas, the librarian’s assistant) and Vaughn Williams (as book author Garth Williams).

As with other Naked Stage shows, only scripts, chairs and a lit stage are used by the actors – no costumes or sets. “We tell people it isn’t about fancy lighting, there are no costumes, there is no set, and people wonder, ‘Well, what is it?’” related McGoff Dean in an interview last March. “I tell them it’s character development, and it’s the embodiment of those characters by the actors, but it’s also more theatre of the mind.”

More show details are posted at nakedstage.net, and tickets ($15 plus fees) can be purchased in advance at brownpapertickets.com. Show times are 7:30 on both March 22 and 23, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 24.

• RELATED STORIES:

Well-knit tale of Habs hockey legend plays ‘naked’ on Surrey stage, from March 2018.

SURREY EVENTS CALENDAR for March 13 and beyond.

Musical in Surrey shines light on residential-school horrors.

 

Jennifer Price (as Lily) and Michael Paulse (Joshua) play childhood friends who reunite after 20 years in 1959 Montgomery, Alabama, in Naked Stage’s production of “Alabama Story,” at Newton Cultural Centre from March 22 to 24. (submitted photo)

George Stone as Senator E. W. Higgins in Naked Stage’s production of “Alabama Story,” playing Newton Cultural Centre from March 22 to 24. (submitted photo)

Just Posted

High-risk sex offender released into Surrey

Earon Wayne Giles, a Newton “tag-team rapist,” was released from prison Friday and is now living in Surrey

Pedestrian seriously injured in Surrey traffic crash

A 54-year-old man was hit by a car early Thursday evening while crossing Highway 10 at 152nd Street

VIDEO: Nature provides practice space for North Delta musician

Terry Lee has become a fixture over the years playing his cornet in and near the Delta Nature Reserve

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say body found after fire at Whalley homeless camp

Police say the body was found inside a shed after firefighters extinguished a blaze

BC Hydro replacing hundreds of old power poles in Surrey

More than 10 per cent of BC Hydro poles are at least 50 years old

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Man wants guilty plea revoked in 2012 collision in Abbotsford that killed Chilliwack woman

Michael Larocque was charged in relation to crash that killed Eileen Kleinfelder

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parent’s cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

UPDATE: Vancouver man dies after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

Police believe speed was a factor in Thursday collision

Trial slated to start Monday for accused killer of Abbotsford cop

Oscar Arfmann faces first-degree murder for death of Const. John Davidson

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

RCMP probe hit-and-run of Richmond senior

The man, who is in his mid-70s, was walking with his wife when he was allegedly struck

Most Read